Did I actually hope for something to happen last night ?
Nothing did, but still, at some point during the night I am sure I wished for some kind of wandering monster to crash out of the shadows and pose a mild, passing threat. Insects buzzed and animal predators scuttled harmlessly through the underbrush. And that was it. Not even sounds of the oxen in their stable, in the dark.
Xel’Xaran was correct in his prediction – the sky at dawn was broken clouds, behind which the scorching sun would dip and the land would fall into brief shadow. Still hot, though, and the comfort of the night’s chill was long gone by noon.
My fellows are quite sick of this trip and ready to be done with it. Even the river offers no relief from the stagnant, intrusive heat. Pulp and BOB tried swimming but discovered quickly that when the river current moves in the opposite direction as does the barge, it is a considerably long hike back when one manages to swim to shore.
Our provisions are running thin; the heat and humidity have ruined some of the food. Other food is simply unpalatable when it is so hot out. Between our skin and every single article of clothing or armor, lies a warm slick of sweat – a most unpleasant sensation when the air is so hot and close. There has been no opportunity to soak one’s garments in clean water, wash the dust and the grit from our hair, and simply relax somewhere shady and comfortable. Everyone is just waiting for this to be over, to be back in Callia. Conversation on the barge is minimal.
When the times came to stop to swap oxen, small groups of us would disembark and make the hike overland to meet the barge at the next oxen-barn. Not far off the oxen trail, one could find themselves in the deep shade of forest, and pace the barge with a slow and easy walk.
I did this today, and it was a nice change. On my sojourn I had the pleasant company of Spiritz and BOB. Removed from the group dynamic, I found both to be quite intellectually capable. Normally shy, Spiritz was quite talkative, and he and I had a challenging debate about the relative merits of divine spell ability versus innate arcane ability. BOB pondered whether Reece was of the Hexblade, Spellblade, or Duskblade prestige class. The topic of Dusty came up, and we each retreated to the safe ground of not knowing what to say.
This morning we passed the small settlement encountered the first day out of Callia. We are not far removed from the city now. After dark, those not on watch set immediately to sleep. It is the fastest way to pass the time.
Journal of Dr. Marcus Grant
Healing Cleric of Pelor, Order of St-Jude Academy (Silabrek)
19th Day, travelling by river from Mid-Plain to Callia, territory of Ælim.